Army Announces Expert Soldier Badge
by U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
September 25, 2019
In conjunction with the U.S. Army’s 244th Birthday, the Army
announced a new proficiency badge ... called the Expert Soldier
Army senior leaders announced the
implementation of the Expert Soldier Badge on June 14, 2019.
Similar to the Expert Infantryman Badge and the Expert Field
Medical Badge, the ESB will allow commanders the opportunity
to recognize Soldiers outside the Infantry, Special Forces
and medical communities who have met a high standard of
performance in physical fitness and warfighting tasks. (U.S.
The ESB is designed to improve lethality, recognize excellence in
Solder combat skills and increase individual, unit and overall Army
readiness. The ESB is the equivalent of the Expert Infantry Badge
and Expert Field Medical Badge, but for all other military
occupational specialties in the Army. Commanders will soon be able
to use the badge to recognize Soldiers who attain excellence in
physical fitness and marksmanship and a high standard of expertise
in land navigation and performing warfighting tasks.
will be an important component of increasing Soldier lethality and
overall readiness to help achieve the vision for the Army of 2028,”
said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey. “The EIB and EFMB have
supported the Infantry and medical fields with distinction, ensuring
their Soldiers maintain critical skills, while recognizing the very
best among them. The ESB will achieve the same for the rest of the
The Army will implement the ESB in early fiscal year
2020, with the standards and regulation to be finalized by September
2019. Earning the badge will test a Soldier’s proficiency in
physical fitness, marksmanship, land navigation and other critical
skills, and demonstrates a mastery of the art of soldiering.
The ESB training and testing will be extremely challenging,
mission-focused, and conducted under realistic conditions. Those in
the Infantry, Special Forces, and Medical career management fields
are not eligible for the ESB.
“Like the EIB and EFMB, the ESB
test will be a superb venue for individual training in units and the
badge will recognize a Soldier’s mastery,” said Gen. Stephen J.
Townsend, commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine
Command. “And it will be just as tough to earn as the EIB and EFMB
because the Soldier will have to demonstrate fitness, weapons
proficiency, navigation and warrior task skill at the expert level.”
Standards for the ESB are still being refined but they will not
be adjusted for age, gender or any other criteria. The test will
share about 80 percent of the same warrior tasks as the EIB and
EFMB, and is designed so it can be administered alongside and
together with them. Brigade commanders will decide if and when to
schedule the test so it best fits their training schedules.
Under the ESB test process, Soldiers will demonstrate mastery of
individual skills through different evaluations over a five-day
period. The standards for the ESB place candidates under varying
degrees of stress that test their physical and mental abilities as
they execute critical tasks to an established set of standards.
To qualify to take the ESB test, Soldiers must pass the Army
Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), qualify as “Expert” on the M4/M16 rifle
and be recommended by their chain of command. The test itself
consists of another ACFT, day and night land navigation, individual
testing stations, and culminates with a 12-mile foot march. ESB test
stations include warrior tasks laid out in the ESB regulation and
may also include five additional tasks selected by the brigade
commander from the unit’s mission essential task list.
Example tasks include:
- React to an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Attack
- Construct Individual Fighting Positions
- Search an Individual in a Tactical Environment
- Employ Progressive Levels of Individual Force
- Mark CBRN-Contaminated Areas
“We worked tirelessly on the ESB to ensure we got it right,” said
Command Sgt. Maj. Edward W. Mitchell, Center for Initial Military
Training Command. “We wanted to provide commanders the opportunity
to recognize their top Soldiers who have met the highest standard of
performance in physical fitness, warfighting tasks and readiness.”
Each ESB task will be evaluated on a “go” or “no-go” basis.
Pass rates during the ESB pilot testing were similar to that of the
EIB and EFMB.
“The ESB is all about increasing the readiness of
our Army. It will provide commanders outside the Infantry, Special
Forces and medical communities the opportunity to recognize Soldiers
who best demonstrate excellence in their fields,” said Command Sgt.
Maj. Timothy A. Guden, TRADOC Command Sergeant Major.
is not a badge to award so that the entire Army now has an ‘expert’
badge to wear. As it is now, not every Infantryman or Special Forces
Soldier earns the EIB and not every medic earns the EFMB. Keeping
with the same mindset, this is a badge to award to those who truly
deserve recognition as an expert in their career field; for those
who have achieved a high level of competence and excellence in their
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